An Efficient System for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy: A Pilot Study

Healthcare (Basel). 2022 Jan 10;10(1):133. doi: 10.3390/healthcare10010133.


In this paper, we describe an actuator-based EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) virtual assistant system that can be used for the treatment of participants with traumatic memories. EMDR is a psychological therapy designed to treat emotional distress caused by a traumatic event from the past, most frequently in post-traumatic stress disorder treatment. We implemented a system based on video, tactile, and audio actuators which includes an artificial intelligence chatbot, making the system capable of acting autonomously. We tested the system on a sample of 31 participants. Our results showed the efficiency of the EMDR virtual assistant system in reducing anxiety, distress, and negative cognitions and emotions associated with the traumatic memory. There are no such systems reported in the existing literature. Through the present research, we fill this gap by describing a system that can be used by patients with traumatic memories.

Keywords: EMDR; cyber-physical system; virtual assistant.